We all know that Businesses are needing to change and evolve more and more quickly to keep up with advancements in technology, disruptive business models and so on, but with this change in the world of technology, is there a need for a new approach to managing the business of IT in organisations?
The introduction of IT4IT suggests that the answer is ‘Yes’. IT4IT is The Open Group’s new approach to help position IT as a valued asset and service broker to the organisation that it assists in today’s world.
At the recent Open Group member meeting in Edinburgh, version 2.0 of the IT4IT Reference Architecture was formally launched. IT4IT has been in development for a few years but is still relatively unheard of in comparison to other frameworks and methods such as TOGAF, COBIT and ITIL. Within the industry, we have been seeing a number of our clients addressing some of the challenges and issues that IT4IT is looking to resolve. Global organisations are looking for an approach to IT that will help facilitate a transformational journey towards a new and improved environment, in which they can effectively manage the growing complexity of the modern IT estate.
Why is there a need for IT4IT?
The overarching aim of IT4IT is to help organisations design the ‘business of IT’. As more organisations adopt multi-sourcing, cloud, XaaS, and so on, the level of complexity in the IT estate continues to rise. IT4IT provides an underlying Reference Architecture through which this complexity can be managed, and more productive Operating Models can be designed and implemented.
These factors combined create an environment that facilitates greater effectiveness of mainstream IT operations, which will naturally provide organisations with more resource, time and budget to allocate to innovation and new services.
How is IT4IT structured?
IT4IT is a value-chain based IT Operating Model. The fundamental design criteria is that it provides a reference point for organisations to anchor on when adapting to large-scale change in their IT environment, without the need to re-architect the entire IT landscape.
There are four guiding principles applied throughout IT4IT:
- The approach can be phased in without a need for a ‘rip and replace’ approach
- The approach needs to be flexible enough to be used in a rapidly changing world
- The reference architecture is technology and vendor agnostic
- The model will be complimentary to existing frameworks and methodologies.
Within the IT4IT Value-Chain there are four Value-Streams. These streams make up the key stages which organisations can use to manage their IT landscape. The streams work from a high-level strategic view (plan), down to the detail of implementation and delivery (run):
- Strategy to Portfolio: Works to bridge the gap between business and IT and will shape the service portfolio offered. It captures, prioritises and forecasts on demand for IT services and investments.
- Request to Deploy: This stream provides the framework within which new services are created, sourced and modified in a predictable, cost-effective and high-quality manner.
- Request to Fulfil: Connects the services being provided with the consumers of those services within a structured framework. This optimises consumption and the fulfilment of demand.
- Detect to Correct: Monitoring, management and remediation of the services that are being realised and consumed by the business.
Figure 1: IT Value Chain
How can IT4IT help your organisation?
One of the core benefits that organisations can expect is a more cost-efficient IT environment. Senior IT leaders from MunichRe, Shell and Achmea, as well as research from Gartner, predicts that IT4IT will help organisations manage an increasingly complex IT estate in a more cost-effective fashion. It will also free up time and budget for innovation and new products. They feel the Reference Architecture provides a strong framework for managing multi-sourcing approaches, which are becoming more prominent in organisations around the world.
Another key benefit of IT4IT is that it is not being introduced as an alternative to methodologies or frameworks such as TOGAF and ITIL. The model is designed to complement these existing approaches, and will work equally effectively with organisations using Agile, Waterfall, DevOps and many others
Figure 2: IT4IT and other frameworks and methods
The environment created by IT4IT will give organisations much greater visibility and accountability on the performance of IT; how and who is consuming the services; and what level of value they are thus delivering. Edwin Manica, a leading practitioner in the Business Analysis space, sees this as a really valuable aspect of the IT4IT initiative. He reflected back from one of his recent engagements where he found that stakeholders had begun to realise the difficulty of measuring improvements and uplifts in performance if you don’t have clear performance metrics and indicators in place. The IT4IT model helps alleviate this issue and provides a structured framework in which IT businesses can start to do this.
So what’s next …
As they did with TOGAF and ArchiMate, the Open Group is in the process of launching a People and Certification programme to support the release of IT4IT v2.0. Enterprise Architects is a proud sponsor of this programme, and we are looking forward to providing IT professionals with another valuable development path, to help grow their capabilities and support the businesses that they work in.